Apple Watch’s new female health features are a game-changer

Every time Apple takes the stage to announce a new product or software update, the Android fan and cross-platform user in me takes a back seat and pouts with envy. For a few hours, sometimes even days, I start to wonder what it would be like to drain my Pixel 6 Pro, my Galaxy Watch 4, my Nothing Ear headphones (1), my Pixelbook laptop, my Xiaomi Android TV and my headphones. Nest speakers, and everything going with Apple. I already have the iMac and iPad to build from. And it would be so simple and transparent to opt for a unified ecosystem. Then I remember how much I dislike iOS as a daily driver and how boring life would be as a single-brand user, and my jealousy slowly dissipates.

This time, however, I think there will be a lingering urge, and it’s all because of the Apple Watch Series 8’s new temperature sensor and the way Apple uses it to track women’s health.

apple watch series 8 temperature sensor

Apple isn’t the first wearable maker to incorporate a temperature sensor. The older Fitbit Sense and newer Sense 2, Galaxy Watch 5, and Oura Ring 3 (among others) already have the hardware. However, Samsung is not doing anything with the sensor yet. Fitbit uses it to log your nightly temperature but doesn’t do anything with the data beyond that. Oura is the only company to use it to track the cyclical temperature change that occurs in women’s bodies every month or so.

Fitbit and Samsung wearables already have temperature sensors, but they aren’t used for cycle tracking.

Apple is following Oura’s steps to make sure the temperature sensor is useful for anyone who wants to follow their period. And it does so on a population scale that will far exceed Oura in just a few months.

Beyond the technical aspects of how and when, Apple Watch users should get a multi-day chart of their temperature, more accurate period predictions, retrospective notification on the most likely ovulation date (based on an increase in temperature) and a notification when an abnormal cycle deviation is detected. All of this in a private, “you choose who sees your data” implementation.

Apple Watch Series 8 cycle tracking

We still don’t know how well all of these features will work, but on paper, they’re all incredibly intriguing. Both for me as a woman and as a pharmacist who has spent the better part of 10 years advising women on female health, period tracking, ovulation, pregnancy and Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).

Until now, there was no easy way to track what our female bodies were doing on a daily basis. Apple democratizes this knowledge.

I couldn’t tell you how many times I’ve grabbed a calendar and tried to explain how cycles work to a woman who feared an unwanted pregnancy (or was hoping to conceive), or how many consultations I’ve given to women who were confused by PCOS- caused irregular cycles. I’ve recommended period trackers—especially Clue—hundreds of times, and hoped my patients would manually track their periods. But as with prescription drugs, I had no control over patient compliance.

If a gadget as ubiquitous as the Apple Watch can automate some of the tracking, democratize this knowledge, and ensure that all people with female anatomy are more aware of what their bodies are doing and when, then that’s a win. indisputable.

apple watch series 8 possible cycle deviation

Heck, just a few months ago I personally went through a very irregular cycle that threw my hormones out of whack and made me feel like I had no control over my body. The problem is there was no way to quantify this and validate the mess I was in. hormonal disorders.

I don’t care if Apple does it (more or less) first; I just care that it was done.

As a woman and a pharmacist, I don’t care if Apple does it (more or less) first; I just care that it was done. As a Pixel user, I’m very envious of iPhone users and hopefully wearables on our side of the ecosystem catch up soon.

Fitbit and Samsung are the easiest targets. They already have the hardware, and Fitbit has years of data from its Sense line as well. Both should use this data for women’s health as soon as possible – after validating it in studies, of course. Until then, my craving for Apple will remain in the background.

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